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Violent and Non-Violent Criminal Behavior among Young Chinese Drug Users: A Mixed Methods Study

School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Nanjing University, No. 163, Xianlin Avenue, Qixia District, Nanjing 210023, China
Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 432;
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Violence as a Public Health Issue)
PDF [334 KB, uploaded 2 March 2018]


Young drug users are found to be increasingly involved in criminal justice issues. This exploratory and descriptive study aims to analyze the criminal behaviors among young Chinese drug users through a mixed methods research design. Quantitative analysis indicates that young drug users with and without a history of criminality show significant differences in terms of several features. Male drug users, particularly, those who are older, with religious beliefs, and initiated into drug use at younger age were most likely to commit crimes. Among drug users with criminal experiences, those who committed crimes prior to drug initiation have a greater likelihood of committing violent crimes. Furthermore, young drug users with severe depression are more likely to commit crimes, especially violent ones. Qualitative analysis further illustrates that young male drug users often get involved in criminal conduct of the youth gang nature with propensity for engaging in violent crimes as compared to their female counterparts who are more likely to turn into drug dealers and traffickers, in addition to engaging in larceny. The research findings are consistent with developmental theories and “victim to offender cycle”. Integrated mental health and substance use services are suggested for crime prevention among young Chinese drug users. View Full-Text
Keywords: young Chinese drug users; mixed methods; criminal experience; violence; mental health young Chinese drug users; mixed methods; criminal experience; violence; mental health
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Liu, L.; Chui, W.H.; Chen, Y. Violent and Non-Violent Criminal Behavior among Young Chinese Drug Users: A Mixed Methods Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 432.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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